It’s somehow September, which means it’s time for me to get my quarterly Craft Gin Club box. This month is yet another special edition, this time hailing from Yorkshire’s Otterbeck Distillery. Founded by a group of friends and set up in a formerly derelict cotton mill on their land, their original gin took six months of experimenting to develop. Clearly this is time well spent as the Cotton gin has won a Gold at the 2020 Spirits Business Awards, Bronze at the 2021 IWSC, and Silver at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Since then, they have designed the Cotton Garden gin to reflect the long, sunny September evenings spent outdoors.
They wanted to highlight some of Yorkshires native botanicals that are found in their garden and along hedgerows including elderberry, yarrow, rosemary, sage, thyme and mint. They balance these herbal notes with lemon, orange, cassia and coriander seed and leaf. This is their fifth gin – their original Cotton gin features watercress and hand-foraged spruce, and their collaboration with Sir Tom Moore is inspired by his childhood holidays in the area. Eliza – their custom built still – includes a vapor chamber allowing them to include the more delicate flavours, which would otherwise get lost in the main pot.
Today’s gin is becoming a staple in the Ginvent calendars; in 2016 we tried Slingsby gin, in 2017 we tried their rhubarb gin, and today we try their gooseberry edition. A proud Yorkshire business, Slingsby gin started in 2015 and since their launch have developed six spirits in their main collection. Alongside the two we have already tried, they have a navy strength gin, a marmalade gin and a vodka. The gooseberry gin, in a beautiful green bottle, still uses their famous Harrogate water alongside their base spirit and locally sourced botanicals. Their Yorkshire-grown gooseberries are packed with vitamin C (so this is good for you, right?) and impart a burst of sharpness, that they say is balanced by the sweet citrus of their classic gin. So, how does it taste? Continue reading
Note: The team at Taplin & Mageean sent me a bottle to try, as always I will let you know what I think.
What is Taplin & Mageean gin?
Taplin & Mageean gin has an unusual name, which for once doesn’t have a hidden meaning. It is simply the names of the founders – Chris Taplin and Barry Mageean. Chris met Barry whilst on a visit to the Yorkshire Distillery where Barry was head distiller. They got chatting, hosted a gin tasting and – as all good gin tastings end – ended with a conversation about making their own gin. They opened their distillery in Wensleydale (no, not the cheese), in an former train repair building at Leyburn station. As former head distiller, Barry put his skills to work developing their recipes and 49 trials later, they settled on the four that make up their range. I find it interesting that they launched with all four, the usual trick is to introduce one to market and then expand. Here, they have their signature gin which I am trying today, juniper heavy with Yorkshire hops, fresh grapefruit, flowers and spice, a peach and basil gin which also used apricots and vanilla, a spiced orange gin with winter flavours fig, cranberry and cinnamon, and finally a summery gin using elderflower, chamomile and apples. Despite being a new brand, the Signature Edition won a silver medal in the gin tasting category of the 2019 San Francisco Spirit Awards, so how does it taste?
Day six of Ginvent brings us a special edition gin from Masons in Yorkshire. At the 2017 Harrogate Christmas market they launched their Peppered Pear gin, you might remember their lavender gin from the 2017 Ginvent calender. The Peppered Pear version is made as the name suggests, balancing the sweetness of pears with the heat of pink peppercorns. Although this was a limited edition in 2017, the team at Masons liked it so much that they have continued to make batches of it. They suggest serving this with a slice of kiwi, and the Gin Kiosk folk suggest red apple slices. So, what will it be?
I have something to admit here. I have had a test tube of Masons Yorkshire Gin sat on my shelf waiting to be opened since last Christmas…and today we are trying their lavender edition. I should point out I haven’t tried it yet because I sort of forgot about it, not because I heard anything bad. In fact, the opposite is true, I regularly hear about this gin and how good it is. Masons is the first gin to be distilled in Yorkshire and each bottle has a handwritten batch and bottle number on it – something possible due to runs of just 200 litres. Unveiled in 2015, the lavender edition features the intense but subtly sweet note of (you guessed it ) lavender. So, let’s see how it fares. Continue reading